Memorable Big Ten Tournament Run Highlights 2012
Illinois lands more shots on goal but comes up empty-handed
Offense delivers first multi-goal performance
Illini suffer first lost of the season
Shayla Mutz's header sends Illini to 2-0-1
Jeff Freeman enters his third season at the University of Illinois as Assistant Coach. Last season, Freeman served as the Interim Head Coach for the non-conference portion of the schedule while Janet Rayfield was away with US Soccer's U-20 National Team at the World Cup. Jeff brought a wealth of experience and tactical expertise to Champaign, Ill., after serving as a member of the University of Miami (Fla.) women's soccer staff for the previous seven years, including three as the associate head coach.
In 2012, Freeman helped coach the Illini to their 11th NCAA Tournament where they advanced to the second round after knocking off neighbor-state rival Missouri. Freeman also helped guide the Illini to their fifth Big Ten Tournament title game. In addition, Freeman took the reigns of the Illini program for the first seven games of the season against one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country. Illinois finished 10-9-4 on the year.
"I feel very fortunate in a lot of ways to have such a tremendous staff," said Coach Rayfield. "Jeff knows everything about this program and what our standards are. I was comfortable the whole time, knowing the program was in good hands and the players would continue to develop."
In 2011, Freeman was integral in the process of implementing the formation changes that led the Orange and Blue to a 17-5-2 overall record, the most wins in a single season in school history and a Big Ten Tournament Title victory over No. 11-nationally ranked Penn State. Freeman worked with both the offensive and defensive units throughout the season, also serving as a key contributor to the Illini's recruiting efforts while performing additional administrative and travel-related duties.
Previously, Freeman was a member of the Hurricanes staff, as he played a prominent role in Miami earning conference and national recognition with top-25 rankings and back-to-back appearances in the 2007-08 NCAA Tournaments as he assisted in all aspects of recruiting and team administration. As the recruiting coordinator, Freeman was responsible for the Hurricanes' 2007 top-25 recruiting class, which included ACC Freshman of the Year Brittney Steinbruch, and fellow U20 National Team member Brittney Macdonald.
Prior to earning the associate head coaching position, Freeman developed Miami's goalkeeping squads with amazing results. Freeman was responsible for molding four-year starter Lauren McAdam into one of the most lauded goalies in program history, having earned recognition from Soccer America, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, Soccer Buzz and the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), before training All-American Vikki Alonzo as McAdam's replacement.
Freeman joined the Hurricanes' staff after serving as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Missouri State, for four years. The Bears' goalkeeping units earned Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Defensive Player of the Year and conference tournament MVP honors in addition to weekly MVC defensive accolades under Freeman's tutelage, while Missouri State won the MVC crown and earned its first NCAA Tournament appearance with Freeman's guidance.
As a student-athlete at Missouri State, Freeman earned academic all-conference recognition as a goalkeeper with the Bears and was a member of the 1997 squad that made the program's first NCAA Tournament appearance after earning a top-10 national ranking and the MVC regular season title.
Freeman, who earned a bachelor's and master's in education from Missouri State, is accredited as a United States Soccer Federation (USSF) `A' Licensed Coach and holds a NSCAA Advanced National Diploma.
"I was excited to add Jeff to our staff," Illinois head coach Janet Rayfield said. "We share a common vision about where this program is and where it can be and he is ready to lend his experience and his expertise to help us get there. His positive energy will be felt immediately and his impact on the program will be long lasting."